tv Newsmakers CSPAN April 18, 2010 10:00am-10:30am EDT
would allow everyone to refinance what they have in a private sector and no government money would be involved at all phenomenal someone defaulted testimony host: do you think it would work? caller: yes. host: we'll continue tomorrow morning. we get underway every morning 7:00 a.m., 4:00 for the viewers on the west coast. our guest diana will talk about the real estate market and what it means for all of you. gene, the president of the league of voters and the editor in chief of human events all tomorrow morning. thank you for being with us on this sunday morning. enjoy the rest of your weekend and i hope you have a great weekend. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] . .
>> the vetting process has begun for a new supreme court justice. use the new c-span video library to find background information on possible nominees, including michigan governor, d.h.s. secretary, and other names reported by the media on the short list. search it, watch it, clip it, and share it. every program since 1987, the c-span video library, cable's latest gift to america. >> this week on "newsmakers," steny hoyer, majority leader, democrat of maryland, joining us up from capitol hill today. mr. hoyer, joining us in the questioning is carl from the "new york times" and jared of the local newspaper. >> hi. >> i know you're pleased that
the unemployment benefits were finally extended and the president signed the bill. it was a pretty contentious and time consuming process. do you think you're going to be able to get a deal that will extend them through the rest of the year and avoid these kind of fights and should they be paid for? >> carl, clearly we believe that they are emergency spending, they're emergency because of the dire straits of so many of our people unable to find employment, out of jobs, and in need of assistance to make sure they and their families can remain above water. so from that standpoint they're clearly mrges emergencies and we think it's appropriate to pay for them as emergency funded items. having said that, i'm hopeful that what has been conceived as a contentious process, but you'll notice it's contentious until the time we vote. and when we vote, we received an overwhelming vote in the
house and they received a good vote in the senate. so when it comes to a vote, people understand that rather than have people go on welfare, that keeping them on an assistance, on unemployment, which after all is an insurance program for them, and keeping them with the availability of health care makes sense for our country's health and well being, and, frankly for our economy. to let these people fall through the cracks would be devastating not only to them and their families but also to our economy. >> do you think you'll get the deal to extend them through the end of memorial day? roar >> we'll work on that and see if we can get another short term. one of the things is this is temporary relief. we are very, very hopeful that the economy will continue to be coming back, we're having success. we are having progress at least but not success. we're not creating the numbers
of jobs that we need to. but we're making progress. to that if we make very substantial progress, perhaps we won't need that, perhaps jobs will be available. but to the extent they're not, hopefully we'll continue to provide the assistance that these represent. >> mr. leader, you're in discussions with various members of the caucus on the budget, the progressives have been urging you to increase some of the discretionary funding that the president laid out, and there are other groups, the blue dogs and other conservative democrats who have been urging for a budget that would deepen the cuts that the or deepen the freeze that the president proposed. do you have the votes to get a budget through budget committee, and more importantly is it worth the fight if it's needed? >> let me say this. we've had a budget act in place since 1974, and every year
since the budget act was adopted the house of representatives has in fact adopted a budget. i believe that we ought to adopt a budget and we ought to have a plan to get out of the deep debt that we have gotten into. frankly, 90% caused by bush policies and 10% essentially caused by trying to get out of the deep recession that was inherited by this congress and this administration. so that we need to have a plan going forward on how to bring us out of the debt and get us back to balance. that's a principle objective that we have and the president has articulated. which is why he sent down a freeze budget which reflects a freeze on nonsecurity, nondefense discretionary spending. i think any budget that we adopt will honor that. i think the appropriations process will honor that. and, yes, there are clearly a number of us who believe that we ought to spend more in some areas and less in others. i think we can do that within
the framework of a freeze. and that's the kind of budget we hope we'll adopt. and we're working towards that end. you ask me do we have the votes. we don't have a budget yet so i can't tell you whether we have the votes yet for that budget. >> you've got a lot of big issues still on the agenda this year, regulatory reform being one of them. but the health care fight was really a draining, exhausting experience for everyone, i think. do you sense some fatigue among your members over doing these big issues, reluctance to do them before the election? >> i think that you're correct. clearly, health care legislation that was adopted, giving health care to all americans and access to affordable, quality health care, was a very tough fight, a very hard work piece of work. and, yes, it took a lot out of people. but at the same time, it was an energizing action.
it was a great success from our perspective. and i think members are energized, i think the base of the democratic party. and i frankly think that more americans learn about the health care bill, the more they're going to like it. they're going to think that that immediately available to them is a very positive aspect, whether it's closing the do nut hole for seniors or allowing young adults up to 26 to stay on their parents policy, whether giving tax credits to small business to extend insurance, or whether it's capping out of pocket expenses and preventing lifetime limits. all of those will have a positive reception. but the answer to your question is i think it's energizing, not a sort of a retreat sounding action. it's an energizing. we've done something important for the american people. and we're going to continue to work. regulatory reform, which you
mentioned, is our next objective. we believe the overwhelming majority of the american people, some 80%, understand that wall street has to be rande in. that it was the irresponsibility of wall street, frankly, the tanking of the referee off the field by the bush administration and allowing the financial institutions to do whatever they wanted to do and what they did was take extraordinary risks. and what they did was they took the risks but unfortunately expect d the taxpayer to bail them out. and that's not good policy. the administration has said we need to have better regulation. we need to make sure this doesn't happen again. i think the american people think that's the right direction. i think the congress will think it's the right direction. so the answer is i think we're prepared to do that and are going to do it. >> would you say it's a certainty that you would get a bill this year? >> well, that's carl. right? >> yeah. >> carl, i hesitate to say
anything is a certainty in the congress of the united states. but i would say that there's very, very high probability that we're going to pass regulatory reform. as you know, we passed it in the house and we passed it pretty handly in the house. we're hopeful that senator dodd and his colleagues and others, senator she will by and senator cork on the republican side will come together, pass the bill, go to conference, will work out an agreement and send a bill to the president. and i would hope that we would do that within the next few months. i think that's what the american people people, and that's certainly what we want. >> mr. leader, if i could go back to health care. you said that it's a success. if so, then why in friday's paper was it reported that the white house is going to hire, quote, a senior official to go out and sell this health care bill between now and the mid-term election? do you disagree? do you think that position isn't necessary? if you do agree with it, what type of person needs to fill
that role? >> well, i think coca-cola is a great success, pepsi cola is a great success. they keep selling bodes of those products. and i think we need to sell this product because it's complicated. there's no doubt about that. we spent a lot of time considering and had more public hearings, more debate, more amendments, more town meetings, more discussion in all different form rum throughout the country throughout this bill. but it's a complicated bim. we're dealing with a very large segment of our economy. and i think that the administration is correct that we need to inform people of what this reform will do, what advantages there are for them and for their families, what advantages there are for business, why we think it's going to bring cost down, why we think it's going to bring more effective delivery of health care to americans, why we think we're going to focus on getting rid of waste fraud and abuse. all of those things i think the american people needs to understand. and because it's complicated i
think it's helpful that the administration is getting somebody to focus on that particularly and make sure that this is understood by the american people. now, when you ask what kind of person, i think somebody who, a understands fully the legislation's import and impact on people. and also, who can convey in understandable terms to people like me, laypeople, exactly what this does. now, i think i know what it does, but i think that people who haven't worked with it, as much as we have here, still have heard some pretty scary things that somehow this is socialized medicine. that's bologne. it's not socialized medicine. it sets up a market for private sector insurers to offer insurance, which will be paid to private sector doctors and private sector hospitals at the choice of the consumer. so this is certainly a public transparent marketplace where you can get the best buy for
the best product that you need, but it's certainly not government takeover as some have tried to scare america with. so we need to educate people as to what this really does. i think when they understand it, they're going to appreciate the fact that this was good for them, for their families, for their businesses, and for the country. >> mr. leader, do you have any names that you would like to throw out there? >> no. i don't have a specific name. i think that there are a lot of good people out there. tom dashle certainly is somebody who is very good at communicating with the american people, understands the health care system. i'm not recommending tom. i don't know whether senator darble would be interested in such a position. but that kind of person that both communicates well, understands if public, and understands the legislation is the kind of person that you need. and clearly all of us need to be salespeople.
every member of congress, the president will be i'm sure speaking about this health care reform repeatedly between now and the end of the year to make sure that americans understand what's been done. >> and on that note, congressman, you've been traveling around into districts and helping vulnerable democrats. when it comes to this health care bill and you're talking to people that disagree with the bill, don't like it, what's the one thing that they're saying that you think democrats need to refuture? >> well, i think that people are very concerned that somehow, particularly those that have insurance now and feel that they've got good coverage and good security, feel somehow this legislation is going to take that away from them. it won't. they'll still be able to rely on that insurance which they now have. and i think that we need to make it very clear that this is not something that will undermine people's security. it's going to enhance their security. it's going to allow 32 million
americans who don't have insurance, who don't have access to affordable health care through a system of primary care physician and access in an informed way to the health care system. furtteds more, we need to inform people that right now we're paying on average those of us who have insurance about $1,100 in premiums to subsidize those people who don't have insurance when they go and get medical help, medical assistance and can't afford it, that's uncompensated care. well, that has to be reimbursed in some way. and, very frankly, every american is now taxed about $1,100 year on their premium. they're taxed through their insurance company buzz they're insurance company in effect reimburses hospitals at a higher rate because of the uncompensated care that people without insurance who get health care can't pay for it. somebody's got to pay that bill and it's passed along to the reast of us. so i think when people learn
that this is the objective of this bill and in fact will be the effect of this bill, i think they're going to say, well, i had concerns and people were telling me the government's taken over. it's not. people were telling me this is going to adversely affect me personally. it won't. and they see the benefits of this legislation. for them, who have insurance. i think they're going to say to themselves, this is a good program. and you ask about the reaction as i travel around the country. you know, i've been on a lot of airplanes over the last couple of weeks and i've gotten people to come up to me on the airport and the airplane saying this was a good thing, thank you very much for the work you've done. we know it was hard but we think it's good for our country. i've had young people come up to me and say, you know, i haven't been able to find a job and i'm older than 23, i'm out of college around this is going to give me an opportunity to get coverage. i've had people who said i have a preexistning condition, i have epilepsy or cancer or some
other 3re existing condition, and your high risk pool is going to give me coverage, in the long term is going to give me coverage. and kathy dall kemper, i was in an event with her, we weren't in her district, but she said that the calls against the bill prior the its enactment were very substantially in the majority. she now says that the calls calling her office to thank her for it are clearly in the majority. so i'm hopeful that that will be the reaction as we go through the next few weeks. >> mr. leader, you talked about the health care vote energizing the caucus. one of the thing that is would require a significant amount of energy would be passing ggration reform immigration bill. majority leader reed has indicated that he plans to do so this year. you said before that if that's the case, the house would follow suit. do you think there's enough energy in the caucus for passing, bringing to the floor
a comprehensive immigration reform bill? >> i certainly think there's enough energy. and i think what the house is going to be doing, the senate has agreed to move this legislation first and we think that's appropriate. the senate was unable to move a bill in the last congress and we'll see whether they can move one in this congress. but if they do, we will certainly address it. >> you'd bring a bill to the floor in the sfat passed a bill? >> if the senate pass as bill, as i said, the speaker and i both indicated we will address that bill. we believe that comprehensive immigration reform is necessary. the first step of course is we've got to make absolutely sure that our borders are secure. that we do not have people coming in to the united states who are not authorized to come into the united states. not only is that important from a national security stant poined but it's also an important aspect of the demands on the services of our government and the competition with others in our country for
jobs and services. so that's our first priority. secondly werks need to make sure that americans who are now or people who are here who are not documented, not authorized to be here, do have incentive to be identified, to come out, to be in the mainstream of our economy so that they're paying proper taxes if they're working. if they're working illegally, that we find that out. and that we provide a ways and means for people to become, who have come here to this country as so many of our ancestors did, for opportunity, to work off and perhaps pay a substantial fine as president bush recommended for their coming in illegally and breaking the law in effect. but giving them an opportunity to work productively towards citizenship over a long period of time and maybe paying a substantial fine. but also, removing from this
country people who are here and who are not positive presence here. >> just to be clear though. you say you'll only act if the senate acts first. you wouldn't initiate anything. >> we as you know have addressed this issue before. the senate failed to act. and senator reid and speaker pelosi and i have all agreed that it's appropriate that the senate address this matter. and if they can act, then we would be prepared to act. >> now, would you prefer to see the senate go ahead and pass a bill this year or do you think it makes more sense to be able to address this issue next year? >> well, let me say that senator reid has indicated that he might be addressing this issue in the senate as early as sometime this summer, and that's the judgment of the senate. and we will certainly defer to senator reid in making that judgment. >> a little more political question.
a lot of analysts predict that it's conceiveable that you could lose the house in the election. i know it's probably not something you would like to think about of yeahly. but how much of a concern is this for you, and what are you doing to respond to it? >> i don't think we're going to lose the house. i'm pretty confident that we're going to retain the house. obviously history shows us that in the first interim election of a president of the united states there is a history of the president's party losing seats in the house. ronald reagan lost a net 18 in 1982, so we understand that history is not good from that standpoint for us. however, we have 253 members. i think we want to retain as close to that number. we'd like to expand it obviously but retain as close to that number as we can. we're working hard.
our incumbents who won in 2006 and 2008 are very, very able people, good communicators, hard workers doing good things for their people. we think they're going to be excellent candidates and tough to beat. so we're confident we're going to retain the majority. and we're working hard to do that. and unlike 1994, there are no surprises this year. we've been working very hard since last year, we're continuing to work very hard. and we think the american people are going to like what we've done. they're going to think we have responded to the problems that confronted our country. we did so in a decisive and effective way. for instance, we just weeks into the obama administration in responding to the bush recession and very substantial downturn, loss of jobs, the bush administration lost 3.8 million jobs in the last year
that they were in office, we had to respond to that. we adopted the recovery and reinvestment act. that's saved or built 2 million jobs. it was one of the biggest tax cuts in listry. we cut almost $300 billion in taxes, over a third of that bill was a cut in taxes for 95% of americans. we think that was a positive step and has helped the economy. the economy is growing. it's not where we want it to be. but during the first quarter it went down 6.4%. during the last quarter it went up 5.9% or 5.6%. that's a very substantial progress. we were losing 797,000 jobs in january. last month we gained 16 2,000 jobs. that's a real step forward. the stock market is up very substantially over 60% on the
dow, over 70% for the s and p. and the nasdaq is up over 90%. so we're making progress. we don't have success yet, because success will be when we start to be again when gain back very substantial jobs and people can find jobs. that will be success. we need to get america back to work, and we're working on that. >> we have time for a couple more questions. >> mr. leader, you mentioned taxes. and you have put a lot of stock in your message on taxes all week talking about the tax cuts in the reinvestment act having your vulnerable members talk about this as well. at the same time, because of your urging and the urging of others, fiscal reform commission is going to send a report to congress in december about ways to close the long-term deficit gap. and it's very conceiveable that they could recommend tax increases as part of that. i just wanted to ask how
realistic is it to think that taxes are going to be at the levels they're at now in the next two, three, four years? >> well, i certainly think we've made a real commitment and we believe that the middle-class taxpayer, under $250,000, they're having a tough time. and we need to make sure that we don't up their taxes certainly in the short term. the president has indicated that he was every intention not to do so. but we need to pay our bills. we need to not pass the expense that is we incur in this generation along to the next generation. so we adopted statutory pay go which simply says if you're going to spend money, if you're going to buy things, pay for them. don't expect your children to pay for them. we've said in the president's budget we're going to constrain spending, we're going to put a freeze on spending, and at last year's level so we don't grow
discretionary spending. and we've set up this commission. and this commission is to look at ways and means that we can stop putting our country deeper and deeper into debt. one of the principle problems and challenges confronting america is getting back to fiscal balance. the bush administration inherited a $5.6 trillion surplus, a $5.6 trillion surplus and turned it into a $10 trillion deficit. that was an extraordinary fiscal turn around for our country. we're clawing our way back. it was necessary to try to get the economy moving to borrow money to do that. every economist agreed from the most conservative economist to the most liberal economist, they all agreed, you've got to invest in growing the economy. we've done that. the economy is growing. not as fast as we would like. but it is growing. and we need to keep taxes low. obviously, you don't want to
stimulate and depress at the same time. having said that, this generation and future generations need to pay their bills. and if they don't want to pay for something, they ought to make a decision not to buy it. that was not true in the last administration. it was true in the clinton administration where we created a surplus. the only president in the lifetime of anybody probably watching this program that has had four years of surplus was the clinton administration. and a net surplus after 96 months as president of the united states. it was almost a $63 billion net surplus. no president has done that. we need to get back to that kind of balance. >> mr. hoyer, you've indicated some concern about the tone of the political dialogue right now. threats against members. actually some arrests for threats against members, angry exchanges. is there anything realistically that you can do to improve the relationship between the parties and sort of make it more civil? >> well, certainly i try.
and i think that's my reputation, and i think i deal with the other party in a civil, constructive way. i think many of their leadership believe that's the case. as a matter of fact, as you well know, one of their former leaders, roy blunt, who was the republican whip, is one of my best friends in congress and he and i work closely together where we can agree and work very respectfully where we don't agree. i think that's what americans expect of us. i think that's what i do with mr. canter and mr. boehner. we do have serious policy differences on where the country can go. we disagree on economic policy. very frankly, i was not supportive of the bush demick policy. mr. boehner and mr. canter and mr. mcconnell were. that policy has led to the deepest recession that we've seen in this country in three quarters of a century. so there are very significant disagreements but they ought to
be sil disagreements. and each member of the congress of both parties, irrespective of their view on an issue, ought to encourage their supporters, members of their party, the public to whom they speak, encourage them to participate to be siveically engaged but do it in a civil way. i'm not sure that all of us are doing that. and i think to that extent it courseance the debate but also creates an environment in which those who are not as perhaps restrained or as had the kind of good judgment that some others do where things can happen in a democracy, with violence that no one should be either promoting, condoning, or inciting. >> mr. leader, we'll have to leave it there. thank you very much for being our "newsmakers." >> thank you. i enjoyed it very much. >> thank you. >> now, let me turn to both of you and do a brief wrapup here